October '14

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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8 2 | Printwear O ctO b e r 20 1 4 I am interested in adding an online designer to my website, so customers can design shirts, and then simply submit the orders. What kind of capital investment does this require? There are two main options of having a website with an online de- signer. The first is to have one custom designed. Developing custom software is generally expensive in terms of cost and time. The second option is to choose a provider that offers a website-in- a-box-type solution. Use an industry provider that has tailored its product to the decorated-apparel industry. Non industry providers may not have built-in transactional features, such as pricing, prepar- ing quotes, art approvals, the ability to check orders online, and free artwork. From within the industry, there are two choices. The first type charges an upfront setup fee and then a flat monthly fee, depending on which package you choose. Packages are geared to different-sized businesses. The second type has no setup fee and also charges a monthly flat fee. However, instead of the setup fee, you are charged a percentage of sales on a monthly basis. In terms of the initial capital investment, depending on which op- tion you choose, you could set up a website with an online designer and basic features for around $1,000. You get a do- main name from a provider like GoDaddy and have it set up the URL that links to your website service's Internet service provider. JP Hunt, Inksoft How can I reduce my shop's error rate? The first step is record and reward consistency. You don't know how bad or good your error rate is until you collect the data. I do this by having "__ days without a mistake" signs in each work area. To help these function as both a carrot and a stick, the bottom of the sign says "Record error-free days: __." I check the sign daily. If the top number is consistently a single digit, we talk about why. Usually, just having this public report keeps the number higher. The bottom number is inspirational, and if it hits a milestone, like 60 days, I reward that work area with something fun, such as lunch or a gift card. DavID k. anDerson, ImPrInt revolutIon Should I have more than one domain name? The answer to that is not an absolute yes or no but a definitive why not. For starters, multiple domain names provide you security from those who use the Internet for all the wrong reasons. For example, if your domain name is www.bestappareldecorators. com and you did not purchase .net as well, someone could purchase and use it as leverage against you for finan- cial gain or to steal your Internet traffic. Second, you can point as many domain names to your website as you'd like. For a small investment, you can create engaging do- main names to direct users to specific areas of your site. A domain name like sends expecting mothers directly to the baby gifts area of your website while lands users in that specific shopping zone. kelly r. raglanD, rags to stIcHes ProDuctIon Should I match competitors' prices? Probably not. Why race to the bottom when you can race to higher value? Instead of matching competitors, show your worth with high-quality printing and better service. Fill an in-demand niche. Usually, if a customer brings me a lower price to match, one of the following is happening. 1. It's not the same job. My quote is for two colors on black shirts while the competitor's quote is for one color on whites. 2. It's not a local competitor. The client has to design the graph- ics online and wait weeks for production instead of working with our trained artists and picking up the finished product in days. 3. The competitor is underpriced, and I just have to be patient until it goes out of business. The 2014 Q&A TroubleshooTing guide > business Management, sales & Marketing Q&A

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